"Because those he stole were the result of those that were planted." 39. The king said, "When deeds are committed, Nagasena, by one name-and-form, what becomes of those deeds? "The deeds would follow it, O king, like a shadow that never leaves it." 43. Thereupon, I said to those Niganthas, "Do you know, reverend sirs, whether you had an existence before this or you were not non-existent? How could the Buddha maintain [that] pain and pleasure in [the] present life being [=is] due to environment, if he believed that it was due to past karma? The doctrine of past karma is a purely Brahminic doctrine. They say that such a definition of Ahimsa involves the sacrifice of good for evil, the sacrifice of virtue for vice.
This teaching commends and approves itself to us, and we rejoice in it." 6. "Do you know that, in a former existence, you were guilty, and not guiltless, of misdeeds? How could the Buddha throw doubt on past karma, if he believed in it? People who accept the Buddha's teachings find it difficult to accept Ahimsa as an absolute obligation. There is no subject which is a matter of greater confusion than this subject of Ahimsa. How have the people of Buddhist countries understood and practised Ahimsa? This is an important question which must be taken into account. The monks of Ceylon fought against, and asked the people of Ceylon to fight against, the foreign invaders. On the other hand the monks of Burma refused to fight against the foreign invaders, and asked the Burmese people not to fight.
This is the kind of rebirth in which the Buddha believed. Great light is thrown upon the subject by Sariputta in his dialogue with Maha-Kotthita. It is said that once when the Lord was staying at Shravasti in Jeta's Grove in Anathapindika's Ashram, the Maha-Kotthita, rising up at even-tide from his meditations, went to Sariputta and asked him to elucidate some of the questions which troubled him.
Maha-Kotthita asked, "Take the five senses of sight, sound, smell, taste and touch,each with its own particular province and range of function, separate and mutually distinct.
With his belief in the non-existence of the soul, the Buddha would naturally be expected to be an annihilationist. But in the Alagaddupamma-Sutta the Buddha complains that he is called an annihilationist, when as a matter of fact he is not. This is what he says: "Though this is what I affirm and what I preach, yet some recluses and Brahmins, wrongly, erroneously, and falsely charge me, in defiance of facts, with being an annihilationist and with preaching the disintegration, destruction, and extirpation of human beings. "It is just what I am not, and what I do not affirm, that is wrongly, erroneously, and falsely, charged against me by these good people who would make me out to be an annihilationist." 10.
It is better to split this question further into two parts: (1) Rebirth of What; and (2) Rebirth of Whom. It is better to take each one of these two questions separately. *Is the Buddhist Doctrine of Karma the same as the Brahminic Doctrine? *Did the Buddha believe in Past Karma having effect on Future Life? *Did the Buddha believe in Past Karma having effect on Future Life? What happens after death, is a question often asked. The contemporaries of the Buddha held two different views. The thesis of the Annihilationists was summed up in one word, Ucchedvad, which meant that death is the end of everything. One set was called Eternalist, and the other was called Annihilationist. The Eternalist said that the soul knows no death: therefore life is eternal. How can the Buddha not believe in the existence of the soul, and yet say that he is not an annihilationist? This raises the question: did the Buddha believe in rebirth? For it involved a belief in the existence of a separate, immortal soul, to which he was opposed. If this statement is a genuine one, and is not an interpolation by those who wanted to foist a Brahmanic doctrine on Buddhism, the statement raises a serious dilemma 11. Maha-Kotthita asked, "How many things must quit the body before it is flung aside and cast away like a senseless log? Sariputta answered, "Vitality, heat, and consciousness." 32. Thus amplified, the real answer to the question, What happens when the body dies? He was not an annihilationist so far as matter was concerned. So interpreted, it is easy to understand why the Buddha said that he was not an annihilationist. For it would mean that energy is not constant in volume. This is the only way by which the dilemma could be solved. Now of this lady a lovely rumour has gone abroad, that she is sage, accomplished, shrewd, widely learned, a brilliant talker, of goodly ready wit. So the Rajah Pasenadi of Kosala went to visit the sister Khema, and on coming to her saluted and sat down at one side. To say, 'The Tathagata exists after death...exists not after death', does not apply. "So also if one should try to define the Tathagata by perception, by the activities, by consciousness..free from reckoning by consciousness is the Tathagata, deep, boundless, unfathomable as the mighty ocean. Pray, Lord, what is the reason, what is the cause, why this thing is not revealed by the Exalted One? Just as in the case of a lamp, the light reveals the flame and the flame the light, so vitality depends upon heat and heat on vitality." 30. He was an annihilationist so far as soul was concerned. Annihilation in the sense that after death nothing is left, would be contrary to science. But, your majesty, there is a sister named Khema, a woman-disciple of that Exalted One. Yet free from reckoning as feeling is the Tathagata, maharajah, deep, boundless, unfathomable like the mighty ocean. The answer depends upon the elements of existence of the dead man meeting together and forming a new body; then the possibility of the rebirth of the same sentient being is possible. If a new body is formed after a mixture or the different elements of the different men who are dead, then there is rebirth but not the rebirth of the same sentient being. This point has been well explained by sister Khema to King Pasenadi. Once the Exalted One was staying near Savatthi at Jeta Grove, in Anathapindika's Ashram. Now on that occasion the sister Khema, after going her rounds among the Kosalana, took up her quarters at Toranavatthu, between Shravasti and Saketa. Now the Rajah Pasenadi of Kosala was journeying from Saketa to Shravasti, and midway between Saketa and Shravasti he put up for one night at Toranavatthu. The Rajah Pasenadi of Kosala called a certain man and said, "Come thou, good fellow! Set free from reckoning as body, maharajah, is the Tathagata. "Do now what you think it is time for, maharajah." 40. "Even so, maharajah, if one should try to define the Tathagata by his bodily form, that bodily form of the Tathagata is abandoned, cut down at the root, made like a palm-tree stump, made some thing that is not, made of a nature not to spring up again in future time. They are (1) Prithvi; (2) Apa; (3) Tej; and (4) Vayu. Question is, when the human body dies, what happens to these four elements? It is because of the mixing of the two questions that so much confusion has arisen. According to the Buddha, there are four elements of Existence which go to compose the body.